Our beloved Fr. Val was very much devoted to the Holy Trinity, and was the spiritual director of the Apostolate. He was also a much-felt presence about the parish grounds, always ready with a kind word, a warm smile and a happy reminiscence of his own younger days to relate a very human anecdote.
Once, when I was entering the vestibule with my daughter Clare, and during the time I was still laid up with the "boot" on my R leg (while it was still broken) he approached me & asked me if I had asked permission to do this to myself. I responded, "No, I didn't think to ask permission, Father! But I did remember to thank God for the opportunity to have this suffering to offer up!"
He smiled at that...he loved hearing when someone understood suffering in this way ~ how it is always a chance to give thanks to God, to make a sacrifice for the good of a soul, either one's own or that of another.
As we talked, I commented upon a beautiful jeweled cross that he wore around his neck on a gold chain; he showed it to me close up & told me the story of how his sister had given it to him for his birthday. Afterwards, whenever I saw him walking about or talking with someone else, if he wasn't wearing his vestments, he would always have that cross about his neck, and I would remember his sister...
He also told me another time that he pictured God the Father as his own beloved Papa, Who, when asked for a favor or a special grace, would reach into His own pocket to give a gift to him, as if he were still a small boy.
He once wrote a beautiful prayer, asking God to keep him from sin, and exhorted me to say it every night, as I examine my conscience:
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, open my mind that I may think according to Your ways - not according to man's way or my way. Enlighten me, Lord, guard me, guide me, and teach me. Fill me with the most precious gifts of the Most Holy Trinity. Fill me with the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord - with genuine humility and obedience.
There are too many good things to say about a man who, during his lifetime, can almost be considered a living Saint. On the parish website (http://www.saintcyrils.org), there is a quote that states that he was just such a man...and I, in my own heart, believe it.
May God keep him, may Our Blessed Lady smile upon him, and may he rest in eternal light and peace, giving praise and adoration to the Most Holy Trinity to Whom he was so devoted.
Also, please feel free to visit Diane's Blog @ Assumption Grotto parish, our "sister" parish and the Nat. HQ parish of the Opus Angelorum ~ http://te-deum.blogspot.com/2009/03/rip-fr-val-rykowski-1916-2009and-god.html , where she has posted a wonderful tribute to Fr. Val, and where others have left comments, memories and loving words about this amazing man.